This piece is part of the the Good Food Insights series—a collaboration with FamilyFarmed, its Good Food Accelerator, Esca Bona and SPINS—that unpacks the dynamics driving the good food movement.

Bob Benenson, Communications Manager

February 26, 2019

6 Min Read

The Good Food Insights series is a partnership between New Hope Network (and its Esca Bona thought leadership program), SPINS (the leading provider of retail consumer insights, analytics reporting, and consulting services for the Natural, Organic, and Specialty Products Industry) and Chicago nonprofit FamilyFarmed (and its Good Food Accelerator entrepreneur development program).

The series is designed to provide New Hope Network’s readers with research and data on big macro and micro trends in the good food sector. But as we approach insights’ first anniversary—and a panel discussion featuring the principals in the partnership at Natural Products Expo West on March 8—we realized that we launched right in without really explaining the thought processes behind the thought leadership.

So we’re setting aside this month’s insights to correct that, while boasting a bit that year one has been a pretty good soft launch. We have looked at the big picture with articles on the differing definitions of good food, a regional breakdown of the U.S. market for natural and organic food, and an analysis of which consumers are more and less affiliated with a good food lifestyle. We also have drilled down into consumers’ rising demand in areas such as plant-based foods, fresh snacking, CBD-infused products and regenerative agriculture.

Related:Certifying regenerative agriculture with the ROC label

The idea for the Good Food Insights series was first sparked by FamilyFarmed. It derived from the Good Food Commission, an intellectual exercise undertaken by FamilyFarmed from 2015 to 2017 in which more than two dozen renowned national experts exchanged ideas on what is and is not good food.

“We learned so much from these leading thinkers and practitioners in the Good Food sector,” said Jim Slama, FamilyFarmed’s founder and CEO. “We thought a series of articles closely examining consumer and industry sector trends would be a valuable segue from our experience with the Good Food Commission.”

The idea was broached to New Hope Network and received a strongly positive response. “I was initially attracted to the Good Food Insights series because of its aim to define ‘good food’ and quantify from a market perspective the business and sales opportunities being fueled by the good food movement,” said Carlotta Mast, New Hope’s market leader and senior vice president for content and insights. “This approach helps to support the further expansion of the good food movement and demonstrate how business can be a force for good, while helping companies grow by being aligned with the goals of creating a more regenerative, nourishing and accessible food system.”

Related:The SPINS spin on Natural Products Expo East 2018 trends

The Insights series would have been incomplete if it were not grounded in solid real-world data about retail sales, needed to verify that the market for natural and organic foods is growing much faster than the market for conventionally produced foods. SPINS’ willingness to share from its massive base of market data provided that essential piece.

“SPINS’ mission is to increase the availability and accessibility of better-for-you products across America,” said Anu Goel, the company’s president of client growth solutions.

He continued, “Retailers use our data to identify the trends that are driving purchase behavior in each category—for example, finding brands that are non-GMO, organic, grain free, fair trade or plant based. Entrepreneurial brands use our data to tell their story using facts about how their unique product attributes can play a meaningful role in a retailer’s category assortment. This results in a virtuous cycle where fantastic brands can connect with forward-thinking retailers.”

FamilyFarmed has been working across the Good Food sector for more than 20 years to promote a better food system based on delicious products produced as locally as possible using sustainable, humane and fair practices. To date, most of its direct impact has been in its home base in the Chicago region. According to Slama, “The Good Food Insights series, and the underlying partnership with New Hope Network and SPINS, helps FamilyFarmed meet its goal to leverage its years of experience with more national impact.”

The insights series will be blossoming in year two with new features, including a dedicated page on the New Hope website. The partners will be tapping their expansive networks to provide even broader expert perspectives on food system and sector trends. And we have already initiated “virtual sidebars” to the insights pieces on FamilyFarmed’s Good Food News site that amplify the insights topic, such as this piece on organic grain farmer Harold Wilken that paired with the February insights piece on regenerative agriculture.

In addition, New Hope Network and its Esca Bona program will be participating in both of FamilyFarmed’s major annual events this year, both held in Chicago: the 15th Anniversary Good Food EXPO March 22-23, and the Good Food Financing & Innovation Conference on Nov. 5-6. FamilyFarmed is one of Esca Bona’s four nonprofit event partners for 2019, and the Good Food Financing and Innovation Conference will include an Esca Bona service project on Nov. 5 as part of its programming this year.

“The Good Food Insights series is an important component of New Hope’s growing partnership with both FamilyFarmed and SPINS, and it is enabling us to deepen these important partnerships through our collective goal of accelerating the good food movement,” Mast said.

Now it’s sneak preview time. In coming months, Good Food Insights will feature analyses of important market sectors such as pasture-raised/grass-fed meat, organic eggs, fermented foods and gluten free. We hope you will read and share these articles, and will join the conversation by adding your comments.

FamilyFarmed and its Good Food Accelerator is proud to partner with New Hope Network on this series of articles that unpack the dynamics driving good food. Each month, this series features portraits of the national Good Food landscape and individual industry sectors, and backs those insights up with facts provided through our partnership with SPINS.

A panel titled Working Together Toward a Good Food Future: Presented by Esca Bona—featuring FamilyFarmed CEO Jim Slama; SPINS President of Client Growth Solutions Anubhav Goel; and Carlotta Mast, New Hope Network’s market leader and senior vice president of content and insights—took place at Natural Products Expo West 2019.

About the Author(s)

Bob Benenson

Communications Manager, FamilyFarmed

Bob Benenson is the communications manager for FamilyFarmed's communications manager. He spent 30 years covering politics and elections for Congressional Quarterly in Washington, D.C., including 11 years as the publishing company's politics editor. After relocating to Chicago in 2011, Bob changed tracks and merged his desire for a mission-driven second career with his lifelong passion for food. His roles with FamilyFarmed include serving as managing editor for its Good Food on Every Table website, and he was lead editor and co-writer for its Direct Market Success farmer training manual. 

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